Members of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Asaba, Delta State have withdrawn their services indefinitely over alleged harassment by security operatives enforcing lockdown directive.
The lockdown order was issued by the State Government as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
President of the ARD, Asaba FMC chapter, Osifo Patrick Nwabunor, at a media briefing in Asaba, maintained that since the lockdown started on April 1, health workers have been subjected to constant harassment by the police even when they present valid means of identification as essential service providers.
Nwabunor alleged that the harassment came to a climax on Thursday when a doctor, who was going for an emergency, was stopped and harassed.
He added that when other colleagues came to his rescue, they were allegedly tear-gassed.
He said as a result of the constant harassment, the doctors were embarking on “total shutdown of their services indefinitely until our safety and security is guaranteed.”
Nwabunor stated that the association was not callous to embark on the indefinite strike in the midst of COVID-19 crisis but cannot continue to discharge their duties in an environment of constant threats and insecurity.
“These are challenging times in view of the COVID-19 but if our safety is not guaranteed, we will maintain the total shutdown,” he stated.
Nwabunor listed three conditions, including that no health worker should be harassed when he/she presents a valid means of identification; that items destroyed during the Okpanam issue should replaced and that adequate security should be provided within the confines of the hospital before they can return to work.
He also raised alarm about the paucity of protective kits for front line health workers across both federal and state hospitals, appealing to the authorities to provide the kits and as well as increase the hazard allowance.